Tea and novels go hand in hand, and children’s books are certainly no exception. Today, I’m co-hosting this post with my good friend Danielle Davis from This Picture Book Life, a brilliant blog about children books, both classic and modern.
When Danielle asked me to recreate a recipe showcasing Julie Paschkis’ charming book, Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love, I jumped at the opportunity. With all the beautiful apples available at the market this fall, I knew that I could easily create a cake to celebrate the book’s whimsical imagery and endearing theme of expressing love through cooking.In the book, a boy makes a girl an apple cake to get her to stop reading and notice him. She’s the apple of his eye. He takes 1 green apple, 2 red apples, and some other yummy spices and ingredients to create a beautiful cake for his sweetie.
Success! The cake is enticing enough to catch her attention. At the end of story, they share the cake together, a heart full of love between them.
Staying true to the book, I used 1 green apple (Granny Smith) and 2 sweet ones (Honeycrisp) in this Apple Tea Cake recipe. The sour apple is mixed into the cake batter while the 2 sweet apples are cubed, dusted generously with cinnamon sugar, and scattered over the top of the cake to create a rustic topping.
My personal ingredient addition not included in the original recipe of the book is buttermilk. The baked apples meld together with the buttermilk based batter to create an almost custard-like texture to the cake–moist, tender, and deliciously creamy!
Brimming with apple goodness, this is a scrumptious cake that’s simple enough to make any day of the week. I’m not sure what the exact difference is between a coffee cake and a tea cake, but in my opinion a tea cake is lighter both in texture and in flavor so that it enhances a tea instead of overwhelming it.
Adagio Tea’s Candy Apple Tea goes perfectly with this Apple Tea Cake. It’s maple-like sweetness highlights the golden baked apple chunks and adds a touch of caramelized richness to each bite. The blend is good on its own, but great with this cake.
Tea, cake, and an adorably sweet love story like Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love? Now that’s a trio worth exploring.
A sincere thank you to Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life for the opportunity! Please hop on over to her site to check out some of the beautiful illustrations from Julie Paschkis’ book.
Apple Tea Cake
Makes 1-8″ cake.
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
sifted powdered sugar for serving (optional)
8″ baking pan (I used a spring form for easy removal), sprayed with non-stick spray
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
peeler and paring knife
small heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
1.) Make the Cake Base. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, cream the 4 Tbsp of butter and 1/3 cup of sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix them in. Gradually add the flour mix into the butter mixture until barely incorporated. Gently mix the Granny Smith apple chunks into the batter, then pour the batter into the baking pan. Use the back of the rubber spatula to smooth and even out the batter. Set aside.
2.) Make the Apple Topping. Place the Honeycrisp apple chunks into the medium bowl. Pour the remaining 2 Tbsp of melted butter over the apples, then dust with the cinnamon and sugar. Toss the apples so that all the spice, sugar, and butter is evenly distributed. Topple apples over the cake batter evenly, then lightly press them in so that they adhere to the top surface of the cake.
3.) Finish the Cake. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden, the apples look slightly dry, and a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the baking pan. Dust the top of the cake with sifted powdered sugar just before serving. For an optional decorative touch, top the cake with red apple heart cut-outs. Enjoy!
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The apples you always select are just out-of-the-world beautiful…and those hearts are the cutes ever.
Somehow I am not able to reply to your post on mine….is your sis looking for a tiered cake for the doc Mcstuffins cake?
Yes McStuffins! Any ideas!? If yes….email@example.com…:) Thanks girl!
Thank you!! 🙂
how charming and delightful! i love the premise of the book.
we went apple picking over the weekend, and per usual, we picked more than we need and there’s only so much apple sauce i can take… cake sounds about right!
Thank you so much…isn’t the book so adorable!? 😉
Bonnie this is a beautiful cake! And such lovely pictures 🙂
Thank you so much Marta! 🙂
Such a cute story! I love how all the elements from the book appear in your apple cake 🙂 also perfect season for apple cakes hehe
Ah, I love apple season…thank you so much Beatrice! 🙂
Me too! I have been craving apple crumble for so long and I can finally make it. Feels best to enjoy it on a grey cold november day while it is piping hot and some ice-cream on the side 🙂 Have a nice week-end Bonnie!
Beautiful pictures! Love how you used a heart cut out for the apples, matches the story perfectly
Thank you! The cookie cutter was actually a petit four cutter…it’s shape was exactly like the heart in the book, so I was glad how it turned out. 🙂
What a perfect, cute cake Bonnie- and en equally cute inspiration to go along with it 🙂
Thanks so much Jess! 🙂
Adorable story and beautiful cake! What a lovely idea to create a cake that captures the illustrations so perfectly.
It’s so fun to bring books to life through food….thanks so much for your very kind words Diane! 🙂
Bonnie, thank you for this amazing cake inspired by the Apple Cake picture book and for collaborating with me! You’ve turned around and done your own inspiring! That cake looks so doughy it’s unreal and has your signature creativity. 🙂
You’re the best…THANK YOU Danielle, you have the coolest site ever! 🙂
What an absolutely gorgeous cake to celebrate this lovely book Bonnie 🙂 only you can make something so awesome 🙂
Aw, so very sweet of you Naina….your avatar image says it all!! 🙂
I love that idea of cooking or baking based on the latest book you read! Usually I’ll sit down with a glass of green tea, but I’ve been reading How To Be An American Housewife, and I’m really interested in trying some Japanese food. Any ideas?
Hey Chaya! How about some Pumpkin Dango? Or maybe some Furikake Popcorn to munch on while reading?
And these gyoza might be good if you are wanting to go savory…http://thirstyfortea.com/2014/07/25/miso-chive-gyoza/
How far along in the book are you? The book looks interesting, maybe I should check it out to! 🙂
I think I’ll try the gyoza! I remember when you posted that recipe and it looked so good. I finished the book and loved it! It’s a great story and somehow, it subtly draws you in. I’d recommend it 🙂
I love apple tea cakes! cannot remember the last time I made one though.. you definitely have inspired me to make your delicious recipe. thanks for sharing it!
Thank you Thalia! I hope you find the recipe easy and delish! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
This is such a happy fall recipe. Your cake is a beaut. 🙂
Thank you so much Miss Patty! 🙂
I’m glad you are posting so many post they are great.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks so much Aaron! I just noticed your Lamill email…love your shop, such a great place for a tea break! 🙂